William Marrion Branham
Here, I am quoting only excerpts from the "Introduction To The Church Ages" I encourage the reader to obtain the book for more in-depth study. Along with explaining the spiritual history of the Church, in this series [in the book] Brother Branham deals with many church doctrines, separating the true from the false. In these links on the Seven Church Ages we will not cover the "doctrines" in-depth. Our main objective is to "trace" the Church - true and false, through the Ages. What is written is indeed a "challenge" to the "traditional teachings of the modern Church in this Age.
Of course we must be aware that according to Scripture, intellectual knowledge alone is not sufficient to give us the "Spiritual understanding" of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" in His Church - we need to pray for Divine anointing (the Holy Spirit) to guide us into Truth (John 16:13). The Subject of the "importance of revelation by the Holy Spirit" is covered in Chapter One of the book.
May the Lord continue to bless us as we continue our journey into the Revelation of Jesus Christ to His Church. Throughout this study, any comments by the editor of this Home Page will be clearly marked so as not to be confused with Bro. Branham's own words. I assure you that any comments I might make will be absolutely Scriptural. To save time and space much care has been taken in the process of selecting the excerpts to be viewed in this link. Much care has been taken to make sure that the thought or revelation conveyed is not changed. Any portions omitted will be indicated by a series of "periods"............ Again, we encourage the reader to obtain a copy of the Book on this series to study it more closely.
Since this study was to be the most serious one I had ever undertaken up to this time (1961), I sought God for many days for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Then only did I read the Scriptures on the Church Ages and delve into the many church histories written by the most unbiased historians that I could find. God did not fail to answer my prayer, for while I read the Word and the histories, I was enabled by the Holy Spirit to see unfolded a pattern that runs through the centuries and right into this present, last day.
Now we know exactly from the Word which was recorded by the Holy Spirit how the first, or original church, was founded and how God manifested Himself in her. The Word can't change or be changed because the Word is God.
To change one word of it, as did Eve, brings sin and death, even as it says in Revelation 22:18-19.....
Thus, what the church was at Pentecost is the standard. That is the pattern. There is no other pattern. No matter what the scholars say, God has NOT changed that pattern. What God did at Pentecost He has to keep on doing until the church ages close.
Though scholars may tell you the apostolic age is over, don't you believe it. Such a statement is wrong on two counts. First of all, it is wrong to suppose there aren't any more apostles, just because the original twelve are dead. An apostle means a 'sent one'; and there are many sent ones today, but they are called missionaries. As long as men are being called and sent forth with the Word of Life there is an apostolic age going on. Secondly, they refer to an age of 'manifested Holy Ghost power' as being over since the Bible has been completed. That is untrue. There is not even one Scripture that suggests that, but many conclusively state otherwise. Here is our proof that both of these charges are false.
The promise of power with which the apostles were endued at Pentecost is to "you (Jews), and to your children (Jews), and to all that are afar off (Gentiles), and to as many as the Lord our God shall call (both Jew and Gentile)". Until He stops calling, the [original] Pentecostal message and power will NOT CEASE.......What the church had at Pentecost is her inalienable right. Originally, she had the pure Word of God. She had the power of the Spirit manifested in divers signs and wonders and gifts of the Holy Ghost. That original church was not organized by men. It was led by the Holy Ghost. It wasn't very big. It was hated and despised. It was oppressed. It was persecuted unto death. But it was true to God. It stayed with the original Word pattern.
Since you now understand how we judge what the True Church was like (what she was at Pentecost and what she was in the apostolic age as set forth in the Word in the Book of Acts) we can apply the same rule to show us how the church failed. The basic error, or errors, that crept into the first church and were revealed in the Book of Acts and Revelation and also in the Epistles will become more and more visibly manifested in each subsequent age, until we come to a complete blackout of truth in the last, or Laodicean Age.
I said that the True Church would always try to be like it was in the Book of Acts. That is exactly right. But we have discovered that the Word also teaches an invasion of error until there is a complete blackout of truth in the last day when the Lord is about to appear. The question now arises in our minds; does God forsake His own and let them fall into a state of complete deception? On no account, for the Scripture says very clearly in Matthew 24:24, that the 'Elect' CANNOT be deceived.
.....There is a True Church and a false church. There is a True Vine and a false vine. But of course that false church, false vine body, will always try to usurp the position of the True Church and contend that she, and not the Elect, are the real and authentic. The false will try to kill the True. That is how it was in the Book of Acts, that is how it is set forth in the seven ages, and that is how it is declared in the various Epistles.....
Just to seal this point on the True and false vines mingling and demonstrating the two spirits that are at work, let us look into the Scriptures again.......
It cannot be denied in the face of these Scriptures that the True Church and the false church are intertwined, having been planted together but of different seeds.......These seven churches located in Asia Minor contained certain characteristics [truth and error] within them, at that ancient date, which became the mature fruit of later ages.....